Oxytocin increases the survival of musculocutaneous flaps
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The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of oxytocin on survival of musculocutaneous flaps in male Sprague-Dawley rats. For this purpose oxytocin (0.1 or 1.0 mg/kg), an oxytocin antagonist (1-deamino-2-D-Tyr-(OEt)-4-Thr-8-Orn-oxytocin) (1.0 mg/kg) alone or in combination with oxytocin (1.0 mg/kg) or saline was given subcutaneously (s.c.), 24 hours and 1 hour before and 24 hours after flap surgery. In addition, oxytocin (1 µg/kg) or saline was given intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) according to the same schedule. Six days after surgery the amount of viable tissue was measured. Oxytocin 1.0 (but not 0.1) mg/kg s.c. and 1.0 µg/kg i.c.v. increased survival of the flaps (s.c.: 13.8±14.6% versus 6.10±5.45%; p<0.05 and i.c.v.: 25.5±14.0% versus 10.3±5.79%; p<0.01). This effect was abolished by the oxytocin antagonist. Furthermore, the oxytocin-treated rats had significantly higher plasma levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) (p<0.05). These data indicate that oxytocin increases the survival of musculocutaneous flaps. The effect seems to be exerted within the central nervous system since a 1000 fold lower dose of oxytocin given i.c.v. increased flap survival to the same extent as the s.c. given dose. IGF-1 might be one of the mediators of this effect.
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